In the age of globalization, cities can no longer be understood as autonomous identities but have to be regarded as parts of larger networks.
Economic trends have always affected the process of urban form transformation, but since the second half of the 1980s, this process of transformation accelerated: e.g. globalization of the market, further delocalization of production, the endless flow of people, information and goods worldwide.
As a consequence of this new ‘nomadic culture’ the city structure changed. Due to the overwhelming increase of logistics, locations closer to regional and/or international hubs are preferred. The priority given to the perspective of time tends to reduce the traditional importance of space. But despite the initial ‘end of the millennium’ catastrophic perspective, which forecasted the falling of the city itself, huge metropolitan areas have been progressively increasing their institutional role, economic power and cultural attractiveness.
However, the success of the wealthier cities and metropolitan areas in the world exists thanks to less prosperous centers of production elsewhere. The enormous growth in transport infrastructure has increased mobility, but not for all. Both, availability of physical infrastructure and social inequality in mobility, result in specific patterns of concentration and dispersal of economic activities and social groups.
Further, increased mobility might be impacted by the Hydrocarbon Twins, climate change and peak oil. Many industrialized countries have to reduce quickly CO2 emissions by 80-90% while, due to scarcity of resources, the energy prices will keep rising. Solutions for complementary and multiple connections, including walking, cycling, water links, railways, highways and airlines, offer the opportunity of new mobility patterns prompting unexpected spatial configurations including new concepts combining living and working, food production within cities, etc.
The conference addresses the abovementioned framework to specifically understand which kind of new urban configurations can arise from it.